Building local capacity and capability
DMTC’s Industry Capability Development program aims to create a network of ‘Defence-ready’ companies with benchmarked, globally competitive capabilities.
Companies participating in DMTC’s Industry Capability Development Program gain exposure to the latest techniques and equipment used in engineering and manufacturing, and insights into quality, safety and certification standards required within defence supply chains.
To date, welding benchmarking activities have been conducted in the Latrobe Valley, the Illawarra and Mackay regions. While these pilot programs have been directed at the welding of high strength steels for maritime platforms, the outcomes are also applicable to land platforms. The feedback from all companies involved has been very positive.
Targeted at small businesses in particular, the DMTC program involves a process benchmarking and technology transfer activity in partnership with Universities and government research agencies, with support from the Centre for Defence Industry Capability (CDIC) and relevant certification partners, in this case the Welding Technology Institute of Australia (WTIA). The assessment of industry capabilities by DMTC seeks to identify future research and technology transfer opportunities and provide a better understanding of domestic industry capability for Defence. A second objective of the program is to create an environment that allows for collaboration between companies and to build regional industrial capacity.
Case Study: Mackay
With financial backing from the Queensland Government, DMTC’s project in the Mackay region commenced in July 2016 and concluded in February 2017.
The targeted outcomes for companies participating in the Pilot Project were:
• Education on the latest techniques and processes in welding high strength steels
• Information on the international standards and processes required for the defence sector
• Access to the latest automated welding techniques and equipment
• A recommended pathway to welding practice improvement, and
• A mechanism to network and collaborate to establish a critical mass of capability in the region.
Six companies participated, five heavy engineering companies and one non-destructive testing company. All the companies successfully demonstrated compliance with the relevant welding standard (AS/NZS1554). Opportunities for improvement were also discussed with each of the companies. The companies were also provided information on Defence opportunities, avenues for further assistance such as the Centre for Defence Industry Capability and information on the latest automation technology being utilised in defence applications.
Discussions are currently underway with the respective State Governments for similar programs in Tasmania, South Australia and other Queensland regions in the coming months. DMTC is also planning future benchmarking activities in other specific manufacturing techniques and technologies to enhance Australian industrial capability in areas such as corrosion management and additive manufacturing.